Why go? As a U.S. territory, the U.S. Virgin Islands are an easy and relatively affordable place for that tropical honeymoon of your dreams.
Best ideas: Zip-line over the rainforest before settling into the sand at Trunk Bay. But first, order yourself a Painkiller (cocktail) off the dock at Cruz Bay Landing.
Good to know: Though it’s technically part of the U.S., it’s a good idea to bring your passport anyway.
After taking a direct hit from Hurricane Maria in 2017, the U.S. Virgin Islands — three main islands of St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix plus several other smaller islands — are making a slow but steady recovery and are ready to welcome visitors back with open arms. While you’re not going to find the glitz and over-the-top luxury of, say, the South of France, what you will find is an almost incomparable landscape, some of the clearest water you’ll ever see, and welcoming, friendly people ready to show off their beautiful island home.
In This Article
Traveling & Getting Around in the U.S. Virgin Islands
People flock to this U.S. territory in the Caribbean (there are also a British Virgin Islands and Spanish — technically Puerto Rican — Virgin Islands) for many reasons, including abundant snorkeling and diving opportunities, sailing, swimming, and relaxing at the beach. And rum punch, of course. Perhaps the most important factor is its proximity. The USVI are less than 50 miles east of Puerto Rico, meaning they’re easily accessible for travelers from the mainland. U.S. airlines including American, Delta, United, JetBlue, and Spirit offer daily flights from multiple gateways in the continental U.S., including Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Miami, Newark, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
Like most other Caribbean islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands experience the typical hurricane season for the region from June through November. It gets very hot and humid in the summer months, so the dead of the bone-chilling Northern winter through the early summer is your best bet for a trip to the USVI.
Carnival is a huge celebration in the islands just like it is elsewhere in the Caribbean and Latin America, though it’s celebrated at different times on each of the three islands. On St. Thomas, you’ll find Carnival celebrations lasting from mid-April to mid-May; on St. John, it begins toward the end of June and lasts until July 4th; and on St. Croix, it goes from December through early January.
Even though the USVI are a U.S. territory, it’s a good idea to bring your passport with you anyway, as travelers have reported difficulty exiting the islands with just a U.S. driver’s license. That way, in case you decide you’d like to sail over to the adjacent British Virgin Islands, you’ll be prepared.
Honeymooning in the U.S. Virgin Islands: Pros & Cons
- Gorgeous weather, plenty of relaxation, delicious food and drinks and good vibes all around
- Easy access from the U.S. mainland
- Flights to Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas aren’t terribly expensive if you book early enough
- Hurricane season lasts from June through November each year
- The islands still haven’t made a full recovery after the damage that Hurricane Maria inflicted a few years ago
- Infrastructure is still lacking, and rental cars are generally in bad shape due to the poor condition of roads on the islands
U.S. Virgin Islands Regions
St. ThomasSt Thomas, 00802, USVI
St. Thomas is the second largest island and contains the territory’s largest city, Charlotte Amalie. In town, there’s plenty to keep you busy, including tons of shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. Climb up the famous 99 steps of Charlotte Amalie and take in the spectacular views from the top. Grab some photos on the way up, too. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism)
St. JohnSt John, 00830, USVI
St. John is the smallest of the Virgin Islands, and it’s also the one with the most natural beauty and unspoiled landscapes — in fact, two-thirds of the island is a U.S. National Park. Don’t miss world-famous Trunk Bay, a picture-perfect beach with white, powdery sand. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism)
St. CroixSt Croix, USVI
St. Croix is the largest of the three major islands and has a rich cultural history thanks to influence from the Spanish, British, Dutch, French, Maltese, Danish, and Americans — all of whom had a part in shaping the island’s identity today. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism)
Best Attractions & Activities in the U.S. Virgin Islands
While it’s perfectly acceptable to go to the U.S. Virgin Islands and do nothing other than sit on the beach and drink Painkillers, there’s plenty to see and do if you want to be a little more active.
Drake's Seat and Mountain TopRte 37, St Thomas 00802, USVI
On St. Thomas, check out the views at Drake’s Seat and Mountain Top, the latter of which will bring you up 1,500 feet and give you views in all directions of about 20 different islands — and make all your Instagram followers jealous. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism)
Tree Limin' Extreme Zipline7406 St. Peter Mountain Road, St Thomas, VI 00802
If you’re after more of a thrill, take a 2.5-hour zip-line tour of the rainforest high above the island. You’ll certainly earn your Painkillers after that. (Photo courtesy of Tree Limin’ Extreme Zipline)
Red HookRed Hook, St Thomas 00802, USVI
Back at sea level, visit the town of Red Hook on the east side of St. Thomas and enjoy the vibrant music, eating, and drinking scenes it has to offer. (Photo by Skellig2008/Flickr)
Trunk BayTrunk Bay, St John 00830, USVI
On St. John, don’t leave without seeing Trunk Bay, a stunning, quarter-mile beach ringed by palm trees. It’s part of the national park so there’s an entrance fee, but it’s worth it — it’s a sight you’ll never forget, especially since it’ll earn a prominent place in your Instagram grid. If you’re an advanced diver (or enjoy a good cliff dive), head to Carvel Rock, where the current is strong but the underwater life is abundant. (Photo by Carolyn Sugg/Flickr)
The Parrot ClubWharfside Village, Cruz Bay, St John 00830, USVI
Spend an afternoon at Cruz Bay, the main town and entry/exit point for the island of St. John. Try your hand at blackjack at The Parrot Club after dinner and drinks on the waterfront. (Photo courtesy of The Parrot Club)
Buck IslandBuck Island, St Croix, USVI
Take a half-day boat trip, which usually includes food and drinks, to Buck Island from St. Croix, and enjoy the uncrowded, pristine beaches of this marine national park. (Photo by Steve Bennett/Flickr)
Cruzan Rum Distillery3A, Frederiksted, St Croix 00840, USVI
Get in touch with local traditions at the Cruzan rum distillery in the town of Frederiksted. Tours are cheap and it’s a fun way to learn more about rum’s history in the Caribbean and the role it plays to this day in the culture of the islands. (Photo courtesy of Cruzan Rum/Facebook)
Best Hotels & Resorts in the U.S. Virgin Islands
A popular destination for honeymooners, families, and solo travelers alike, the USVI have plenty of lodging options for travelers at every budget.
Bolongo Bay Beach Resort7150 Bolongo, St Thomas, 00802, USVI
On St. Thomas, the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort is an intimate beachfront hotel that is all about having a good time. Rooms start around $215 per night, and the rate includes complimentary water sports including paddle boards, kayaks, and snorkel gear. (Photo courtesy of Bolongo Bay Beach Resort)
Marriott's Frenchman's Cove7338 Estate Bakkeroe, St Thomas 00802, USVI
Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove is a timeshare ownership property, but anyone can stay at the resort. Prices start at around $550 per night in the low season, and over $1,000 in the high season. Each room is villa-style with two bedrooms and two bathrooms — it may be more space than you’d need on a honeymoon but the resort’s hillside beachfront location makes for stunning pictures at every turn. The resort’s infinity-edge pool is also the perfect backdrop for a couple’s pic at sunset. (Photo courtesy of Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove)
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas6900 Great Bay St. Thomas VI, St Thomas 00802
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, is the island’s premier luxury resort, with a pristine oceanfront location, gorgeous pools hugging the beach, and four restaurants, so you’ll find no shortage of spots to take in the natural beauty and capture photos to make everyone back home jealous. The hotel was significantly damaged by Hurricane Maria but reopened in November 2019 after a multimillion dollar renovation. Rooms start from $489 per night in the low season and can go as high as $1,400 per night during the popular winter months. (Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas)
The Westin St. John Resort Villas300B Chocolate Hole Road St John, Cruz Bay, St John 00830, USVI
The Westin St. John Resort Villas overlooks Cruz Bay and is another newly renovated waterfront property where photo-ops are in abundance. Take a dip in the quarter-acre pool, then belly up to Snorkels Bar & Grill for a rum punch. Rooms at this resort are villa-style and start at just under $350 per night in the low season and $645 in the high season. (Photo courtesy of The Westin St. John Resort Villas)
Gallows Point ResortCruz Bay, St John 00830, USVI
Gallows Point Resort, also located in Cruz Bay, is a quintessentially Caribbean resort, with wicker furnishings and breezy, upper-level lofts. An oceanfront pool on a rocky beach gives a little bit of a European vibe to the place, and you can enjoy island-to-table cuisine daily for dinner. In the low season, rooms start at $345 per night, and in the high season, you can expect to pay at least $595 per night. (Photo courtesy of Gallows Point Resort)
The Buccaneer Hotel5007 Estate Christiansted, St Croix 00824, USVI
The Buccaneer Resort opened on St. Croix in 1947 and has been a legendary property on the island ever since. It’s a full-scale resort, with three separate beaches, two pools, and three restaurants and bars to choose from. Rooms are appropriately Caribbean and tropical, with blues, yellows, and pinks used abundantly. Rooms at this property start at $349 in the low season. The hotel also offers separate honeymoon packages, which include round-trip private transportation from the airport; a guaranteed king-bed room; a welcome gift of prosecco, flowers, and chocolates; a sunset cruise; a half-day Buck Island trip; an island tour; a one-day beach cabana rental; and complimentary 25-minute massages, for an additional $900. (Photo courtesy of The Buccaneer Resort)
Best Restaurants & Bars in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Gladys' Café5600 Royal Dane Mall, Suite 9, Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas 00802, USVI
Gladys’ Cafe has recently reopened in St. Thomas after a fire in the building closed down the restaurant temporarily. This local favorite is open for breakfast and lunch only, and serves Caribbean and American dishes like jerk mahi mahi and callaloo soup. Don’t forget to pick up a jar of Gladys’ favorite hot sauce on your way out. (Photo courtesy of Gladys’ Cafe)
Virgilio's CuisineCharlotte Amalie, St Thomas 00801, USVI
Nothing says a romantic meal like a dimly lit Italian joint. On St. Thomas, look no further than Virgilio’s, where you’ll find Italian classics served with a bit of a Caribbean twist. (Photo courtesy of Virgilio’s)
Mafolie Restaurant7091 Estate, St Thomas 00802, USVI
It wouldn’t be a honeymoon without dinner with a view, and Mafolie Restaurant, located in the hotel of the same name, gives you exactly that. The view is simply unparalleled in all of St. Thomas — get there for an early dinner as the sun is setting and you’ll have one unforgettable meal. (Photo courtesy of Mafolie Restaurant)
Skinny Legs9901 Estate Emmaus, St. John, VI 00830
Located in Coral Bay, St. John, Skinny Legs is exactly what comes to mind when you think of a beach bar in the Caribbean. Time seems to move slower while you’re feasting on delicious burgers and sipping Painkillers, all next to the beautiful turquoise waters of the bay. (Photo courtesy of Skinny Legs)
Cruz Bay Landing6 D Cruz Bay Town, St John, VI 00831, USVI
As soon as you disembark the ferry at Cruz Bay, you’ll see Cruz Bay Landing, just steps from the dock. Start your time at St. John here and adjust to island time by bellying up to the new outdoor bar. (Photo courtesy of Cruz Bay Landing)
Extra Virgin Bistro6D Cruz Bay, Saint John, VI 00830, USVI
A relative newcomer in Cruz Bay, Extra Virgin Bistro serves Mediterranean cuisine with a focus on local ingredients. (Photo courtesy of Extra Virgin Bistro)
Gorgeous, beachy and a stone’s throw from the continental U.S., the U.S. Virgin Islands are a relatively affordable tropical paradise that barely requires flying over water. It’s a great compromise between the reassuringly familiar and the island exotic.